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Cloudy Day Adventure

Recently I went through all the small pieces of fabric I have, and selected some favorites.  I enjoy sewing by hand. I used the pieces to hand stitch a scene looking out of a window. Some of my favorite paintings by Matisse, Chagall, Dufy and others are window scenes, although they usually include part of a room interior. But I wanted to kept it simple. This window is about nine by twelve. The flowers and vase are from a vintage quilt.

Quite some time ago I hand stitched another window, although there isn’t any scenery, just what’s sitting on the window sill. This one is about sixteen by twenty. Perhaps I’ll make a series of hand stitched window scenes. It’s very relaxing.

This morning there were clouds in the sky that were supposed to last throughout the day.  A perfect day to go on a historical stair walk.  The older areas north of LA are built on hillsides.  Before the streets were put in, people had to carry their groceries, furniture etc. up old stairs that still exist. It is one of my favorite things to do. I get to see areas that I would miss just driving on the freeway. It’s always a little adventure.

After passing this school, we came to a rural area.  You can see the golden color of summer here, in these large open spaces. I’d like to go back in Spring when it will be in bloom.

One of the sections of stairs had 219 steps.

Lots to see on the way up.

Unusual houses and garden decorations.

Modern renovated houses.

Little gardens and decorative stairs.

This window had a curtain made out of beautifully cut paper.

A view from the top.

A couple nights ago I was walking near my house, and the air was so cool it reminded me of Fall weather. It’s not too far off, but we still need to see what September brings.  It is our warmest month.

Thank you always for visiting.  Enjoy your week.

 

 

 

 

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Blooms

Here in Los Angeles we are enjoying spring weather, but the East Coast of the US is having a major snow storm as I write this.  They even closed schools in New York.  Snow outside my window would be very fun since we never get it, except in the mountains.  But for now I have  spring flowers to share. This tree in my neighbor’s yard is just starting to blossom.  Soon it will be covered with pink flowers.

A nasturtium in my yard.  The leaves are huge.  They almost hide the flowers.

I’m sharing a flower piece I made a while back.  It is all hand stitched.

In the following pieces I used handmade paper. ( I didn’t make it).  I stamped the colors onto the paper, and added some ink. After stamping the flowers in rows, I cut some up to experiment with different arrangements.

This next “flower” is just a dandelion, but so pretty. The rain brought a lot up from the ground.

And the last is a photo of some Gerber Daisies I gave my mom for her birthday.

“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.”     Claude Monet

“The earth laughs in flowers.”    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Enjoy your week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

Finding Diamonds

I went out walking every sunny day this week, before the rain started up again.  Along with the sun, there was a beautiful blue sky.

While I was walking, I found some diamond patterns to share with my blog friends in Germany.

When the rain came today, I sat down with my paper, paints, and the lino stamp I showed in my previous post. I cut out diamond shapes and assembled them into one large diamond.

I also went to a local quilt show today.  I am always amazed at the exactness in the sewing of professional quilters.  This first one was made by my neighbor.  She has made many many quilts over the years.

People around the country continue to organize in small groups, visiting their congressional representatives offices, organizing town hall meetings, writing letters to Congress and resisting.

“The man who removes a mountain, begins by carrying away small stones.”    Chinese Proverb

Thank you for visiting.  I hope you are enjoying your days of sun, rain or snow.

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Before the Rainbow

After the rain…

Before the rainbow, I watched the changes in the sky.

More rain is expected.

I went to a tiny funky restaurant a couple days ago to meet with other people from a political organization called MoveOn.org. It was near USC in Los Angeles.  It’s an eclectic area of LA.  The restaurant’s name was Revolucinario African Tacos.  The owners are a husband and wife, she being Asian and he being Algerian and an excellent cook.  It was energizing to meet with people of all ages and ethnicities to talk about how we, ordinary citizens, could make some beneficial changes to our democracy.  We will get together weekly, and build on shared ideas.  Initially, we will try to find similar groups around the country and work to get people elected to Congress that believe in climate change, believe that health care is necessary, believe in stopping voter suppression, etc. etc. for the 2018 elections.  The walls of the restaurant had money taped all over them. I asked the owner about it, and she said someone started it, and it just continues.  People will come from other countries and leave some of their currency taped to the walls.

I have been trying to find inspiration for something creative to work on.  In looking at some of my fabric pieces, I decided to go in that direction.  Maybe mix with paper, as I did in this first piece. I alternated strips of fabric with water color painted paper.

I love Post Impressionist and Expressionist painters. The next two were inspired by Cezanne. The first one is an applique from his painting titled, “Basket of Apples.”  The second one was just inspired by the colors in so much of his work.

Oscar was adopted!  I hope he is enjoying his life with a wonderful new family.

So, to close, I leave you with this.

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside, on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace.”   Milan Kundera

I wish you that peace.

Thank you for visiting.

 

 

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Blue Skies

I’m participating in “Sunday Sketches” through Alexandra MacVean’s blog, Blue Chair Diary Blog. Below is my small water color entry.

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Three days ago I drove up to Ventura to visit my sister.  It is a beach town about an hour and a half up the coast from my house.  The sun was shining and the air was hot like a summer day, the sky a brilliant blue.  The cherry blossom trees were in full February bloom again this year.

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This is a hill at the end of my sister’s street.  It is covered with rows of avocado trees, minus avocados.

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We sat on a bench overlooking the Pacific while we ate our sandwiches.  It actually got too hot and we had to move to some shade.

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But before we moved, we enjoyed the company of these two, who waited expectantly for us to share our lunch.

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Working on (finished?) another mixed media piece using some very old vintage fabric.  Didn’t know exactly where I was going with this piece, so it kind of unfolded as I went.  The photo makes the line in the mountain appear huge, although that’s not the case in person.

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Enjoy all that you can this week.

“We think about the universe as an intellectual playground, which it surely is, but the moment you learn something that touches an emotion rather than just something intellectual, I would call that a spiritual encounter with the universe.”                                 Neil deGrasse Tyson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Christmas Time Is Here

One evening…

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A couple mornings later, a VERY blustery day, with BRIGHT sunshine poking through the clouds as they rolled through the sky.

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One of many small vintage fabric houses I plan on making. It’s about 6 inches by 6 inches.  I have an idea for a unique way of framing them, which I’ll have to show later.  They are going to be part of some handmade items a friend and I are going to sell at a flea market NEXT November!

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I’ve been training some new volunteers at the animal shelter this week.  We have so many animals waiting for homes, and can always use more hands on deck to help.  Someone turned in these little guys recently.

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The one in the middle has a cluster of feathers on his head that looks like he’s wearing a little hat.  So cute.  They never leave each others side as they move in a unit.

Joyeux Noel to all.

 

 

 

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“Los Angeles Is 72 Suburbs In Search of A City”

After a lot of heat, it was cloudy enough to go on a stair walk today.  They are historic stairs built on LA hillsides, before there were streets in those neighborhoods. The one today was in an area called Silverlake.  Up and down we went along the edges of front and backyards of old cottages surrounded by green.  It’s a different world from the flat world of suburbia that most Angelenos live in.

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This particular section of stairs had 183 steps.

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I love climbing these stairs, looking out over the city, being surrounded by so much green, and enjoying the styles  of old cottages and homes.  Some of them were designed by famous architects during LA’s early days.  It’s also a good workout.

When I went to the Folk Art Museum a couple weeks ago, there was a second, less impressive exhibit than Binh Pho, but it had some interesting pieces.  All were made using only paper. This first one had the pages removed from a book, and then reinserted as strips.

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Lino stamped paper made into lamps.

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Almost continuously throughout the year, there are small-ish lemon yellow butterflies in my yard. They are a joy to watch.  There’s always a pair, or pairs.  One time I counted ten.  Their flight patterns are different than Swallow Tails and Monarchs.  The movements are like ballet dancers or those acrobatic airplanes that make circles like the hands on a clock.  They’ll sweep right past your face.  They appear happy to be alive.  I came across one of the cocoons.  It is only attached to this plant holder at the very tip, but neither rain nor wind can pry it loose.

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Lastly, (wasn’t sure if that was a word, but I looked it up and it was), I have another fabric house I’m working on.

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After my stair walk I was looking for a nice quote about Los Angeles.  I couldn’t find any.  People seemed to have a lot of negative things to say.  I liked the one I used for my title, by poet Dorothy Parker.  And I found an interesting one by the artist Ed Rusha:

“I’d read about LA and this fact stuck in my mind: That the city gained 1000 new people everyday. In 1956! A thousand people everyday! I felt: I want to be a part of that.”

That still seems to be the case.  Most Angelenos have moved here from somewhere else.  I rarely meet someone who was born in LA.  But the diversity keeps life interesting.

 

 

 

 

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In The Details

This is the exterior of the Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles.  You can see a reflection in the door of the La Brea Tar Pits across the street.  Tar has been seeping up from the ground for tens of thousands of years.  Bones from animals such as mammoths and saber toothed cats have been found in the tar dating from the last glacial period.  Pictures of the tar pits in a future post.

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The exhibit inside the museum was maybe one of the most uniquely beautiful I’ve ever seen.  Artist Binh Pho spent one year in a reeducation camp after the fall of Saigon, seven days floating in a small boat in the gulf of Siam, and eight months in a refugee camp on a deserted island outside Kuala Lumpur before arriving in the U.S. He makes intricate  wood sculptures using dental tools.  I took photos of some of the details on the large pieces.  So many of these individual details could have stood on their own as works of art.

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The color was added with acrylic, but so often looked metallic.

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Some of the pieces were a collaboration with glass or metal artists.

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All the pieces together told a fantasy adventure story written by Binh Pho.

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Well, my small creative contribution seems even smaller after seeing that, but I guess we make “art” in our own way with the skills that we possess, and what it brings to our life.  Often just for the sake of satisfying the yearning to create.  So with that idea in mind, I’ve been finding myself sitting with a “sketchbook” and “sketching” more.  Still a long way from my intention of loose sketching.  But here’s a couple.

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And one more stitched acrylic and applique.  Still need to put a backing or border on the applique.

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No post would be complete without an LA weather update. We had a couple days of cool air, that even brought a ten minute down pour.  But today we are back to 90 – 105 degrees.  A photo taken before our ten minute storm last week.

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Details can be seen in different ways, depending on the situation.  The details in a sculpture or painting can make a huge visual or textural difference.  But in life, what sometimes appears worrisome or trying, is in fact a minor detail that doesn’t really make any difference at all.  When I read Binh Pho’s story, I was reminded of that again.  And everyday when I read about the unimaginable challenges of the world’s refugees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dog Train

I think the cutest thing EVER, and consequently uplifting, was in an article I saw online about an 80 year old man in Texas who rescues abandoned dogs left near his home.  He lives at the end of a road, and people just leave their dogs when they are no longer wanted.  He takes them to be spayed or neutered, feeds them, and takes care of them on his farm. He currently has nine.  But the best thing about the story was the dog train he built for them.

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They love it so much, that when they hear him start the tractor engine, they run and jump in the little “cars” he made from plastic barrels.  Then he takes them for a ride around town.  The article came with a video showing the dogs all barking as they rode the “train” through town.  Absolutely fantastic!

I don’t have anything I’VE done to top that, but I have been continuing to work on my small acrylic panels and started some fabric appliques.  I’m hoping to make quite a few and sell them at a venue coming to LA in the spring.

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My bougainvillea is monstrous.  Dangling over it’s arbor on all sides like an umbrella.  Actually, like two umbrellas.

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Still jumping around to different mediums, which included a pen and ink sketching class. Primarily a sketchbook class for travel adventures, so I brought some photos from past trips. It was suggested we get a Pentel Precise rolling pen as well as a Pentel sign pen.  My first attempt came out more rendered than sketchy.  Practice, practice, practice.

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You can’t really tell from this little still life taken on my patio that’s it’s still full on summer here, but I had to take TWO water breaks at the animal shelter yesterday, compared with my usual ONE. It was HOT.

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To keep the momentum going from my sketch class, I did a real quick one, trying to be sketchier.  (Below)

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People have always been difficult for me to draw, but I think I could get into this style.  Fun fun fun.

If you want to experience the dog train video go to thedodo.com

and listen…

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Playing, Walking, and Playing While Walking

I had a lot of fun making a mini quilt to patch my jeans.  It wasn’t as teeny tiny as I had originally planned, but they’re just my work around the house jeans.  It was fun because it felt like play.  Didn’t have to put in the kind of thinking that goes with a real quilt.

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The next day I went out to the little studio house, but didn’t have anything specific in mind to draw or paint.  Sat for a while, and then took out some oil pastels. They’re kind of fun when you don’t have any particular ideas going, because they’re similar to the crayons you used as a kid.  Instead of paper, I took a couple pages from the old French literature book I had found at a thrift store. Browsed through some art books and started playing.  I made a drawing from a Cezanne painting, and one from a Vanessa Bell painting.  She was part of the Bloomsbury group in England that included painters and writers such as Virginia Woolf.

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This evening I took Maggie and Charlie for their walk.  Just as we started out, the moon appeared between the branches of a jacaranda tree, so it seemed like a good idea to go back for my camera.  Maggie usually likes to go at a more steady pace.  A little stopping along the way.

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Charlie likes to stop constantly.

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Some serious things going on too.  So much serious in the world now.  Remember to take a little time, to play.